Course Descriptions
Plenary Sessions

Emerging Trends in Government Auditing and Finance: Mutual Expectations
(Marion Higa, 4 Hours, Monday Morning)

This address kicks off the conference with a challenge and a framework for participants, asking everyone to keep in mind the broad principles by which we all, as government employees, officials, and, most importantly, public servants, ought to make our decisions. It will highlight what will hopefully be some interesting recent developments in auditing and finance, including some stories of real happenings in Hawai‘i and elsewhere.

Fraud and Abuse: What's it to You?
(Steven Morgan, 4 Hours, Friday Afternoon)

Despite our best efforts to fight fraud and abuse, it is still present in every organization costing millions in terms of lost financial and physical assets. So what are we doing about it now and what should we do about it in the future? Do we even share a common understanding of what fraud and abuse is? Fraud is illegal and never justifiable but abuse is much more difficult to define and even harder to deter or detect. If an incident of abuse is somehow justifiable, is it still reportable and most importantly, do our organizations consistently follow through to enforce penalties and discourage future incidents? This session will ask us to individually and collectively reflect on the roles of managers, employees, and auditors in fighting and ultimately reducing fraud and abuse.

Audit Track

Flowcharting Basics for Auditors
(Jeanne Yamamura, 8 Hours, Thursday)

Flowcharts illustrate the components of and transaction flows through a system.  They help to ensure that key aspects of a system are identified while highlighting critical control points.  Because flowcharts can be used to describe complex relationships in an easy-to-understand fashion, they are frequently used to document and identify essential accounting controls and to evaluate procedural efficiency.  Flowcharting is an excellent audit tool that helps auditors to understand, document, and evaluate organizations’ systems of accounting, reporting, and internal control.  This 1-day course introduces the basics of flowcharting and provides practice in flowcharting manual and computerized systems.

Performance Auditing from an Advocacy Perspective
(Steven Morgan, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

This session instructs participants in how and why to develop and carry out a plan for conducting risk and measurement based performance audits. Planning and conducting audits at the project level are critical to achieving successful audit outcomes.  Accordingly, this session assists participants by providing insight on how to identify key performance issues, develop measurement based audit objectives, align the objectives to appropriate methodologies, and analyze the evidence to support audit findings.  Overall, the session emphasizes the difference between process or internal control findings and measurement based findings.

Writing Effective Paragraphs and Sentences

(Pamela Tumler, 4 Hours, Friday Morning)

This workshop reviews the foundation of all writing:  building powerful paragraphs and writing clear and concise sentences.  Learn techniques for ensuring that paragraphs are unified and coherent and that sentences are strong and direct.  Write succinct topic sentences and learn to craft supporting sentences that unify the paragraph through the use of repetition, parallel structure, subordination/coordination, and transitions.  Learn to write spare, forceful sentences by eliminating unnecessary words, using active voice and strong verbs, and emphasizing the logical subject. Practice identifying and remedying common paragraph and sentence issues.

Writing Value- Added Audit Reports
(Pamela Tumler, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of audit report writing—from the beginning of the audit through the report’s revision. Learn to write persuasive audit reports that are easy to read and understand and that demonstrate added value to the audited organization. Learn techniques that help the busy reader grasp the basic logic of the report at a glance and also satisfy the needs of multiple readers. Use a schematic to assess the logic of the finding and the appropriateness of the recommendations. This course emphasizes hands-on practice in assessing and grouping data, developing and structuring findings, and drafting and revising audit reports.  Learn how to develop paragraphs with viable topic sentences, use sentence length as a tool to increase clarity, and use the active and passive voices appropriately. 

Audit Supervisory Track
Getting the Audit Report From Planning to Out the Door
(Marion Higa, 12 Hours, Monday morning through Tuesday)

You’re the audit supervisor, in-charge, principal, or auditor-in-chief, and new or audit veteran. Your problem is the same, no matter how many times you’ve done this, especially if the engagement is a performance audit—limited time, not-so-experienced staff, complex topic. What to do? Perhaps 40+ years of Hawai‘i audit history can help with our structured, three-part approach to audit planning and execution. Some practical exercises will give you a chance to try your hand.

2011 Government Auditing Standards Update
(Steven Morgan, 8 hours, Thursday)

The instructor will review Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the 2011 Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book) which are pertinent to all types of audit engagements. Also, focusing primarily on changes from 2007 to 2011 the instructor will review Chapters 6 and 7 that address performance auditing standards. Emphasis will be given to interactive exercises to ensure participants understand not just what the Yellow Book says but how to interpret and apply the standards.

Reviewing and Revising Audit Reports
(Pamela Tumler, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

This 1-day course helps auditors at all levels review their own and others’ writing and provide constructive feedback. Learn a structured, step-by-step process for revising reports to make them “reader based” rather than “writer based.” Learn techniques for reviewing for logical organization, assessing paragraph effectiveness, using sentence length to assess clarity, and examining word choice for precision and tone. Learn strategies for providing feedback that will foster better drafts and will improve your own and others’ writing skills. Practice reviewing draft reports, formulating revision strategies, and providing effective, constructive feedback.

Single Auditing Trends in the Insular Governments
(Deborah Milks, 4 hours, Friday morning)

From the initiation of the Single Audit Act of 1984 through the early 2000s, the US insular governments struggled with late audits and numerous qualifications and findings. In 2003 the Office of Insular Affairs and the Graduate School initiated a program to specifically address the problems highlighted by the audits. Since that time, most of the insular governments have been able to clean up their financial reports and complete their audits on time with fewer exceptions. This session will look at the importance of the audit and historic and current trends in the audit results. We will also examine best practices in the audit process and the vital role that the finance officers and public auditors play in ensuring audit compliance in their governments.

Finance Track

Federal Grants Management: All the Strings Attached
(Charles Hester, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

This one day course provides an introduction to the basics of Federal Grants Management.  Federal grants management today looks very little like it did several decades ago, and even more changes should be expected in the future.  The course provides an overview of the requirements facing grantees and the various methods for dealing with grant management-related issues, so that grantees can focus their attention on the features of their own unique grants.  Participants will gain a working knowledge of all the strings attached to grant administrative requirements to help them chart the uncertain waters of Federal grants management.  No advance knowledge of grants management is necessary

Governmental Accounting Bootcamp
(Jeanne Yamamura, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

This active 1½ day course provides an introduction to the basics of accounting and financial reporting for governmental entities.  Participants will gain a working knowledge of fund types and categories and learn how to record routine transactions for governmental activities.  Internal controls as they apply to the accounting cycle and good accounting practice will be emphasized throughout the course.  The session emphasizes hands-on practice in the accounting cycle process, from recording a transaction to preparing financial statements.  Participants will leave the course with a more complete understanding of accounting terminology, the recording process, the role played by reconciliations, and the preparation of financial statements.  No advance accounting knowledge is necessary


Sub-recipient Monitoring: How to not pay for the Sins of Others
(Charles Hester, 4 Hours, Friday Morning)

For many years, recipients of federal funds have had to ensure that they adhere to government-wide and program-specific requirements set forth in grant agreements.  In many cases, grant recipients do not administer these programs themselves.  Rather, they sub-award or pass-through some or all of their Federal funds to sub-recipients.  Even though a grant recipient might pass-through all or most of the grant dollars, it is ultimately the primary grantee’s responsibility to ensure that Federal funds are spent in accordance proscribed requirements. This requires the recipients (or pass-through entities) to monitor their sub-recipients to ensure that they adhered to the government-wide and program-specific requirements set forth in the grant agreements.  This half-day (4 hour) course will give participants the information and skills needed to select the appropriate and most effective methods for both pass-through entities and sub-grantees to meet their monitoring responsibilities.


Writing for Finance Professionals
(Pam Tumler, 8 Hours, Thursday)

This 1-day course addresses the fundamentals of clear writing.  Whether you are writing a report, a letter, a proposal, or other document, that document represents you—and your organization—to its reader.  Accordingly, you want your document to be clear, concise, and error free.  This course provides tips on determining the needs of your audience, analyzing and organizing information, and drafting and revising documents.  Learn techniques for capturing the reader’s attention and keeping the reader on track.  Practice analyzing and revising paragraphs and sentences to clarify muddy writing, eliminate jargon, and eliminate common errors of grammar, word choice, and spelling.

Advanced Finance Track

It’s A Risky Business, With or Without Internal Controls
(Marion Higa, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

How do managers make sure that resources are spent as they’re supposed to be, which means to achieve the results intended? Government has the money, materials, and personnel that people want for their own purposes. What’s the risk that those purposes don’t align with legitimate purposes? This session will raise awareness of risk with real examples and suggest controls.

Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector
(Jeanne Yamamura, 4 Hours, Friday Morning)

Identifying and managing conflict of interest situations is a critical element of good governance.  Even more important, successfully dealing with conflict of interest is essential to maintaining the public trust.  While the importance of appropriately managing conflict of interest is recognized, it is often difficult to achieve in practice.  This ½ day course offers practical solutions for identifying conflict of interest problems and then crafting and executing ways to manage those problems.  Participants will practice identifying and remedying conflict of interest issues that commonly arise in the public sector.


Performance Budgeting and Management
(Stephen Morgan, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

In today’s government environment, performance based management and budgeting is essential to support tough decisions.  This session focuses on lessons learned and best practices in implementing performance based management and budgeting.  The session will include a “primer” on how management should define performance expectations (goals, objectives, and targets), identify means to determine appropriate resources to achieve the expectations, design systems to measure achievements, and use performance reports and measures to support decision making.


Process Improvement in Finance Operations
(Deborah Milks, 8 Hours, Thursday)

BPI, TQM, BPR** for finance offices.  Ever feel like you are lost in an alphabet soup of “new” ideas for improving organizational efficiency?   This session will discuss a process review approach that can be practically applied to smaller offices with few resources.  We will look at how to mine the best ideas from your personnel and leverage your automated systems while balancing reduced numbers of qualified staff, internal control concerns, performance measures and increased user expectations.  After working through a case study in Lean Government, we will review process problems in your offices.  Bring your questions and your thinking caps.